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Tuesday, Jan. 11, is the deadline for public comments on hiring non-certified teachers, changing expulsion and suspension rules, and altering class-size waivers in the Marble Falls Independent School District. A public hearing for the amendments is scheduled during the Jan. 18 school board meeting. 

The school board is not expected to vote on the amendments until March. If approved, the amendments would be effective immediately. 

Residents in MFISD are asked to submit feedback on six proposed amendments to the District of Innovation plan. Information outlining each amendment, as well as an online feedback form, is available on the MFISD website

District of Innovation is a special designation given by the Texas Education Agency to school districts meeting specific performance requirements. MFISD is one of 907 Districts of Innovation in the state. The district’s current DOI plan is effective until the end of the 2022-23 school year. 

DOI designation allows school districts the flexibility to pursue exemptions from portions of the Texas Education Code as outlined in the adopted DOI plan.  

“A district can amend their plan at any time during the approved time of the plan,” said Melissa Fields, director of Accountability and Assessment at MFISD. 

Members of the DOI committee, as well as District Educational Improvement Committee members, began the amendment process in October 2021. Fields presented the proposed amendments to school board members during a Dec. 13 meeting. The amendments and public comment form became available on the MFISD website the next day. 

The proposed amendments are: 

Certification of Staff

This amendment would allow the district to hire “non-certified yet highly qualified professional(s) to teach or a certified educator to teach in a related field for which he or she is not credentialed by the state.” The district could also establish its own requirements for positions with no applicants or those difficult to fill.  

“Of course, the district would always seek first to hire a certified person,” Fields said. “The candidate who is considered the highest quality would be selected.” 

Parents and guardians would be given written notice if their student was being taught by a non-certified teacher. 

Transfer Students

This amendment would allow the district to circumvent the one-year teaching commitment to non-resident transfer students required by the Texas Education Code. 

The exemption would apply to specific scenarios, such as student misbehavior resulting in suspension or an attendance record falling below TEA truancy standards. The exception would not apply to students experiencing homelessness. 

Removal of Unwanted Visitors

This amendment would give authority to designated staff members to remove without warning or written notice

parents or visitors whose behavior is deemed inappropriate.

Suspension of Students Below Grade 3

This amendment would allow MFISD administrators to place students of any grade in out-of-school suspension “when the administrator determines that such action is necessary for safety and/or in order to maintain an orderly learning environment for all students.” 

Class Size Waiver for DAEP 

The amendment would allow the district to adjust the teacher-to-student ratio for Disciplinary Alternative Education Program classes.

Expulsion from DAEP for Persistent Misconduct

If adopted, this amendment would allow principals to work with district administration to expel for persistent misconduct a student enrolled in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program. 

brigid@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Public comment deadline Jan. 11 for MFISD’s District of Innovation changes

  1. Removal of Unwanted Visitors
    This amendment would give authority to designated staff members to remove
    parents or visitors whose behavior is deemed inappropriate without warning or written notice.

    How would “inappropriate” be defined?
    Without a more detailed definition of the word, I can see the possibility of the 1st amendment being violated. The only reason I would agree with this is if the citizen uses abusive language, threats, or causes an unsafe environment. Outside of this, it is critical that citizens, parents, and guests have a voice that is heard and not silenced because of board disagreement. I define this as democracy.

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